Hafter and Saleh question Kobler’s position
By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 20 September 2016:
House of Representatives president Ageela Saleh and armed forces commander-in-chief Khalifa Hafter have attacked UNSMIL chief Martin Kobler, as a failure and demanded he be fired.
Hafter told Egypt’s Al Ahram that Kobler was “meddling in very sensitive issues”. The newly-promoted field marshal, who has repeatedly spurned Kobler’s requests for a meeting, said that his time was too precious to be wasted in pointless discussions. He made a point however of saying that he respected the UN as a body and its secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.
Hafter shares the general anger in the east at Kobler’s denunciation of the army’s takeover of the eastern oil export terminals. There was a noisy protest in Benghazi’s Kish Square after UNSMIL, European states and the Americans had condemned the operation.
Meanwhile Ageela Saleh gave an interview to Russia Today TV saying that Kobler was behaving as if he were the ruler of Libya and had deepened differences rather than bringing people together. Last week the UNsSMIL chief and Saleh met in Cairo for talks which Kobler said afterwards had produced “ an open and frank exchange of views” but clealRLy no meeting of minds.
Saleh told the Russian interviewer that he was arranging a letter to the UN secretary-general demanding that Kobler be replaced.
There is growing social media speculation that Espen Barth Eide, a former Norwegian defence minister, has already have been selected to take over from Kobler. It was not possible to contact UNSMIL this evening.